We had a wonderfully diverse audience demographic turn out for our show. For each night, at least 75% of the audience was AAPI (Asian American, Pacific Islander) and a wide range of ages were represented as well, from college freshman groups to Korean senior citizens. There was also a large turnout of families. We had range of members from community organizations attend such as, LGBTQ Allyship, Got Green, Seattle Asian Film Festival, Gabriella Seattle, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, Wing Luke Asian Museum, Sahngnoksoo, Soobak, and OneAmerica.
All of the AAPI actors in our show have repeatedly voiced how empowering it is to be in a show where being Asian isn’t illustrated as the “other” but instead is the focus of the story. Our audience has also been incredibly vocal about their appreciation of the production, how the Korean family dynamic is their personal story, and how this is the first time they’ve seen anything close to resembling their childhood onstage. The mother/daughter dynamic is also something that really resonates with our audience-a lot of AAPI women have approached us to say that we were able to capture and depict a relationship that, while often painful, was handled with compassion and humor on-stage and really showcased the complex relationship between immigrant mothers and American born children.
Two women from the Korean cultural group, Oolleemm, came up to me after a performance and told me the show made them weep. They said it was so great to see a Korean story on stage and it moved them deeply. They were complete strangers, yet they embraced me as if we were family. They also said they would like to collaborate on a future project incorporating Korean cultural dance.
My very first full length production will premiere at Annex Theatre for their 29th Season!
Do It For Umma
Directed by Sara Porkalob
February 2–17 2016, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Synopsis: In the back room of a Korean convenience store, Umma returns as a ghost to shame, cajole, and needle her American born daughter, Hannah, into avenging her suspicious death. While Hannah’s older brother shirks off familial duties in favor of romantic trysts, Hannah must embark alone on a surreal mission to gain Umma’s ever-elusive approval. Featuring a chorus of ajummas and a healthy dose of revenge, Do It For Umma is an absurdist tragicomedy about the sacrifices one must make to protect their family’s honor, no matter what the cost.
This year, I was honored to collaborate with theater artists: Dayo Anderson, Catherine Blake Smith, L. Nicol Cabe, Amy Escobar, and Courtney Meaker on a project called The Zig Zag Festival, curated by Catherine at Annex Theatre.
Here’s a description of the festival:
Women are 51% of the population, but women playwrights write less than 15% of the productions on Broadway. That won’t change overnight, but here’s a start: Six playwrights-all young, all female-collaborate on an evening of short works. Each will write one play, direct another, and provide an outside eye for a third. Add a set of constraints and an ensemble cast and see what combusts!” –from Annex Theatre’s website.
For Zig Zag, I wrote a play called Roaring Girls inspired by the lives of women involved in the John Dillinger gang after reading the book Don’t Call Us Molls, suggested to me by Courtney Meaker. Since most of my work has been set in present day, I wanted to write something set in a different time period and have some fun with film noir type dialects. At the heart of the play is a messed up love story between two women trying to bust up a world that constricts them.
As a director, I worked very collaboratively with playwright, Amy Escobor, on the darkly delightful play, Scary Mary and the Nightmares Nine. There was some brilliant shadow puppetry designed by Zane Exactly in the production.